Eric Holder on decision day: the country will be less safe

Pierre Thomas, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

Power Players

Attorney General Eric Holder says the country is less safe because of the across-the-board spending cuts that go into effect today and that those who claim the administration has been fear mongering about the cuts simply don't have the facts straight.

"This is something that is gonna have an impact on the safety of this country, and anybody who says that that's not true is either lying or saying something that runs contrary to the facts," Holder told ABC in an exclusive interview, pointing out that F.B.I. agents, ATF agents, and prosecutors will be furloughed because of the cuts. "We are gonna be a nation that is gonna be less safe, and that is a simple fact."

The attorney general got emotional when talking about the Newtown tragedy, saying the day he toured Sandy Hook Elementary School after the shooting was his "worst day as attorney general."

"Walking through Sandy Hook Elementary School and going into those classrooms and seeing the caked blood, seeing the crime scene photos of these little angels, was the most difficult thing that I've ever had to do in my professional life."

While Holder says Newtown was a turning point for the administration in taking on gun violence, he thinks the country hasn't done "nearly enough" to combat gun violence.

"10,000, 12,000 people murdered every year. If we had 10,000, 12,000 people who were dying as the result of some other illness, some other common event, we would...devote resources, research to prevent it from happening. And that's with we need to do with this plague of gun violence," says Holder.

For more of this interview with Eric Holder, and to find out what he calls "the latest civil rights issue," check out this special episode of Power Players.

ABC's Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, Jack Date, Jack Cloherty, Jason Ryan, Chris Carlson, and Gale Marcus contributed to this episode.